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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Monday - July 02, 2007

From: Los Altos, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Mimosa pudica or \
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I don't have a picture of a flower but I'm looking for a flower that I was told was called earthquake flower. It blooms at night. Could you help me?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants found a plant called "Earthquake Plant", Mimosa pudica. It apparently closes its leaves hours before an earthquake. (It closes its leaves at night as well, so this behavior is only going to be predictive during daylight hours.) Its properties were supposedly discovered by the Japanese and they are capitalizing on this discovery by selling a kit with seeds, etc.

You can read more about M. pudica from the Biology Department of the University of Miami and the US Forest Service. This "sensitive plant" and its seismonastic properties were features as Plant of the Week on the Union County College (New Jersey) web page.

You can find still more information about the Earthquake (or Sensitive) plant, Mimosa pudica, by "Googling" its botanical name.

 

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